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Lorry driver moves out of freezing flat to live in his van after being left in cold by Ovo Energy

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A truck driver who says he was without energy for three months has chosen to become homeless and live in his van instead of his ‘freezing cold’ flat.

Darryl Moore, 32, tendered notice on Monday for his five-year flat in Upton, Dorset, after claiming a gas supplier had left him out in the cold over payment errors.

The truck driver is on the road five days a week and has instead decided to live in a van he has been furnishing for the past year rather than stay in his cold flat.

A child’s father claims that the repeated failure of energy supplier OVO to fix his energy billing system has prevented him from seeing even his eight-month-old daughter who can’t spend time in his frigid flat.

He says the problem is the fault of a reversal meter installed in 2020 when his energy supplier Spark Energy was bought by OVO Energy.

The meter already suffered from malfunctions in December 2020, when it was without heating, hot water or gas for its hob for more than two weeks.

Darryl Moore, 32, tendered notice on Monday for his five-year flat in Upton, Dorset, after claiming a gas supplier left him out in the cold over payment errors

Darryl Moore, 32, tendered notice on Monday for his five-year flat in Upton, Dorset, after claiming a gas supplier left him out in the cold over payment errors

He said, 'At least my van has a diesel heater that I can use to keep warm.  I spent all year converting a camper to the van, and when it got to the point where I ran out of gas, I realized the van was warmer than my flat.”

He said, 'At least my van has a diesel heater that I can use to keep warm.  I spent all year converting a camper to the van, and when it got to the point where I ran out of gas, I realized the van was warmer than my flat.”

He said, ‘At least my van has a diesel heater that I can use to keep warm. I spent all year converting a camper to the van, and when it got to the point where I ran out of gas, I realized the van was warmer than my flat.”

A child's father claims that energy supplier OVO has repeatedly failed to fix his energy billing system, leaving him unable to even see his eight-month-old daughter.

A child's father claims that energy supplier OVO has repeatedly failed to fix his energy billing system, leaving him unable to even see his eight-month-old daughter.

A child’s father claims that energy supplier OVO has repeatedly failed to fix his energy billing system, leaving him unable to even see his eight-month-old daughter.

After a complaint to the company and the energy ombudsman, the problem was thankfully resolved – but this time he says he was less fortunate.

He says that after he paid to top up his gas in August, the billing system was out of sync with his smart meter, leaving him without gas again on August 23 this year.

Darryl said: ‘I topped up my meter, it took the money out of my account, but the top up didn’t go through to my smart meter – so my account then said I had no credit and started to top up.

“It started building up debt and then it cut off my gas. The last time I posted on Facebook, it was shared so many times that someone from OVO contacted me and solved the problem.

‘I was lucky that time too, because I took it to the ombudsman and I was reimbursed for the energy costs. After that the meter worked fine until August.

“On the 23rd I refilled gas, and the refill fell through. I didn’t know that, so I went to work for a week. When I came back I found myself in debt again.

‘The debt was only £10 but I was annoyed it had stopped working so decided not to pay as it’s a smart meter – it should read my top-ups.

‘I contacted SSE’s complaints system to ask where my top-up was, and they said my top-up had gone through – while my smart meter said it hadn’t.

‘I haven’t heard from them since. I checked later and the last upgrade hadn’t been since July.’

Despite complaining twice to OVO, and later to the energy ombudsman, Mr. Moore that it would take an engineer up to three months to fix the problem with OVO.

He says the problem is blamed on a reversal meter installed in 2020 when his energy supplier Spark Energy was bought by OVO Energy

He says the problem is blamed on a reversal meter installed in 2020 when his energy supplier Spark Energy was bought by OVO Energy

He says the problem is blamed on a reversal meter installed in 2020 when his energy supplier Spark Energy was bought by OVO Energy

Mr Moore was given a £50 top-up code for his meter which turned the heating back on - but says no engineer has been to look at the problem, meaning it's only a temporary fix

Mr Moore was given a £50 top-up code for his meter which turned the heating back on - but says no engineer has been to look at the problem, meaning it's only a temporary fix

Mr Moore was given a £50 top-up code for his meter which turned the heating back on – but says no engineer has been to look at the problem, meaning it’s only a temporary fix

After receiving no response from the energy ombudsman, he later complained again and was told that the wait would be even longer as no time off for engineers was available.

Faced with a December freeze or more drastic measures, he has now opted to live in a converted van in which he intends to stay for the next year.

He said, ‘At least my van has a diesel heater that I can use to keep warm. I converted an RV to the van all year, and when it got to the point where I ran out of gas, I realized the van was warmer than my condo.

“I decided I might as well stay in my van. The only downside is that I have to get rid of all my furniture, some of which I still have to pay for and will have to sell at a big loss.

‘But I’d rather do that than pay for storage or stay in a flat that I can’t heat. I’d rather live in a campground in my van — but it’s pretty shocking that I’m actually making myself homeless.”

Fortunately, stock has been restored to the flat for now after the incident was reported by the local press.

Mr Moore was given a £50 top-up code for his meter which turned the heating back on, but says no engineer has been to look at the problem, meaning it’s only a temporary fix.

An OVO spokesperson said: ‘We are deeply sorry to Mr Moore for the shortcomings in the service. We can confirm that his meter is now working after a visit from a technician and he has power again.”

Ovo customers have received £80,000 in bills since the SSE acquisition

£44,800

A woman told The protector that she had been informed that she owed £44,800 for two months supply of energy for her one bedroom apartment.

Ovo admitted that meter reading errors have affected certain customers, claiming problems with some accounts transferred to Ovo after it purchased SSE’s retail division in 2020 were the problem.

£79,580.45

A man was told he was paying £79,580.45 an hour for gas on his smart meter.

The customer, Andy Liggins, wrote on Twitter, “I knew rates were going up, but…” and shared a photo of his meter.

£28,500.47

Victoria DeLuis said on Twitter that she had been paying £28,500.47 an hour for gas since she installed her smart meter.

Speaking on the social media platform, she wrote: ‘So today I gave in and finally got a SMART meter installed. I use £28,500.47 per HOUR of petrol!

‘I don’t even have the heating on. Called @OVOEnergy and I have to call back on Tuesday and hopefully they can sort it out!!!”

When did the takeover take place?

  • Ovo acquired SSE and its 5 million customers in 2020
  • The supplier insisted that customers would not be affected by the acquisition and would not receive higher payments
  • The acquisition included energy, telephone and broadband customers
  • The sale was completed for £500 million
  • SSE will receive £400 million in cash upfront, while Ovo will pay a further £100 million through loan notes.